Berkly Catton Spokane WHL up ice

The 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be held June 28-29 at Sphere in Las Vegas. The first round will be June 28 (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS) and Rounds 2-7 are June 29 (11:30 a.m. ET; ESPN+, NHLN, SN, SN1). is counting down to the draft with in-depth profiles on top prospects, podcasts and other features. Today, a profile on center Berkly Catton of Spokane in the Western Hockey League.'s full draft coverage can be found here.

Berkly Catton wants to drive offense to the point of putting opponents on the defensive with the puck on his stick.

It's a skill the left-shot forward with Spokane of the Western Hockey League admires in New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes.

"He's just a play driver," Catton said of Hughes, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. "He plays so fast, and he always seems to have the puck and contribute to his teammates so well. You can always count on him to move his feet and I think consistency is huge with that. Even if he's not getting the puck, he's pushing defenders back so far and he's always playing with so much pace, and when you play with that much pace, even if something's not happening for him, his linemates are getting opportunities."

Catton (5-foot-10, 175 pounds) certainly has learned to play with pace, particularly this season when he became the second-highest scoring 17-year-old in Spokane history after finishing fourth in the WHL with 116 points (54 goals, 62 assists) in 68 regular-season games. Pat Falloon is first with 124 points (60 goals, 64 assists) in 71 games in 1989-90.

"I do see elements of Jack Hughes because I think he has the skating ability and smarts to understand how Jack is able to do what he does, more so than a lot of people," NHL Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "Berkly's always thinking ahead of the play and he can effortlessly get there because he's very elusive. Jack was sometimes dangerously elusive, even playing as a junior, but I think Berkly is a little more calculated in taking those kinds of risks which is the smart thing to do because he's not the biggest guy.

"Berkly has the elements that make you a good pro; his skating is tremendous, and he competes like crazy."

Catton felt fortunate to have a chance to stay with Jim and Ellen Hughes two summers ago since Berkly and the Hughes brothers, Jack, Luke and Quinn, each share the same agency.

"It was great how they kind of go through their everyday life and the way the Hughes brothers were brought up is pretty special; how obsessed they are with hockey too," Catton said. "I learned a lot being there and following them. I think it just added to how much I respect and look up to them."

Said Devils defenseman Luke Hughes, "Berkly's a good player. When I was able to watch him, I thought he looked really good. It's great knowing he'll be drafted in June. It was fun hanging out and I wish him luck."

Berkly Catton Spokane WHL in blue

Catton, No. 8 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, was named the WHL U.S. Division Player of the Year. He led the league with seven short-handed goals and was tied for eighth with 13 power-play goals. He's never really thought about the on-ice pressure associated with being the No. 1 selection in the 2021 WHL draft.

"There's on-ice and off-ice pressure and I never seem to feel pressure when I'm on the ice," he said. "It's just the same old game I've played forever. I felt a little bit of it off-ice for sure, with the media, which I wasn't really used to at first.

"On ice I would say I'm definitely a playmaker, but over the past few years, I've really worked on my shot a lot and I think when I'm getting into these scoring areas, I'm starting to score some goals now. I think that all kind of started at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup last summer."

Catton led all players at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup with eight goals and 10 points in five games and was captain for gold medal-winning Canada.

"He has one of the higher hockey IQs of the players I've seen this year," John Williams of Central Scouting said. "In all zones he makes plays and does the little things that help his team be successful. He also has the skill and scoring touch to be a game-breaker whether he's on the power play, penalty kill or at even strength and that speaks to his ability to contribute in all situations."

Catton said he began to really focus on a hockey career when he turned 12; he was an avid sports fan, playing golf, baseball, and basketball. He also placed first in his age group in a Saskatchewan football throwing competition when he was 12.

"I can't remember how far the throw was, but I won tickets to a Saskatchewan Roughriders football game, which was really cool," Catton said.

It remains to be seen if he will play center whenever he reaches the professional ranks. Jack Hughes has been utilized at center and on the wing during his five NHL seasons.

"Growing up I was honestly more of a winger," Catton said. "I was always playing up age groups and usually there was a centerman set already, so I would always be on his wing. In Spokane, they saw me as a center and I've been playing there ever since, but I really enjoy playing the wing as well."

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